When the spirits of the soldiers on both sides had been whetted for the struggle by these speeches, the Romans threw a bridge over the Ticinus and erected a fort besides for its protection;
and the Phoenician, whilst his enemies were engaged in fortification, sent Maharbal with a squadron of Numidians, numbering five hundred horse, to ravage the fields belonging to the allies of the Roman People, with orders to spare the Gauls as much as possible and tempt their leaders to desert.
On the completion of the bridge, the Roman army marched over into the country of the Insubres, and took up a position five miles from Victumulae.
It was there that Hannibal had his camp, who, quickly recalling Maharbal and his cavalry, when he saw that a battle was imminent, called his troops together —for he never felt that he had done enough in the way of preparing and cheering the men —and held out definite rewards to them to fight for;
he would give them land, he said, in Italy, Africa, or Spain, as each might choose, tax-free to the recipient and to his children; those who had rather have money than land he would content with silver; if any of the allies desired to become citizens of Carthage, he would give them the opportunity;
as for such as preferred to go back to their homes, he would see to it that they should feel no inclination to change [p. 135]
places with any of their countrymen;
besides this he1
promised freedom to the slaves who had come with their masters, and declared that he would make restitution to the latter, at the rate of two for one.
And that they might know that these promises would be kept, he held a lamb with his left hand, and with his right a flint, and praying that if he should deceive them, then Jupiter and the other gods might slay him, even as he had slain the lamb, he thereupon smote the lamb's head with the stone.2
Then indeed they all, as though each had received the blessing of the gods on his own particular hopes, and thought that their fulfilment was being delayed only because they were not yet fighting, cried out with one accord and one voice for battle.